Hey, I’m a nice guy. Ask anybody, they’ll tell you. No, seriously, I’m the nicest guy I know – to a fault. But I’m still a guy. I like to hunker down with some beer and chips and watch stuff blow up real good. This movie appeals to every single thing that makes a man, nice or not, a man. What about this movie seemed bad? I mean, really, this thing has some of the greatest action stars of the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s so far.
Hey, I’m a nice guy. Ask anybody, they’ll tell you. No, seriously, I’m the nicest guy I know – to a fault. But I’m still a guy. I like to hunker down with some beer and chips and watch stuff blow up real good. This movie appeals to every single thing that makes a man, nice or not, a man. What about this movie seemed bad? I mean, really, this thing has some of the greatest action stars of the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s so far. Stallone had some flash of genius when casting this (with the possible exception of leaving out Jean-Claude Van Damme). Just see the movie “JCVD”, will you?
I kinda miss the 80’s/90’s testosterone action flick, as I’m sure many of us do. Well, The Expendables caters to that very crowd – in spades. Sylvester Stallone is Barney Ross, the leader of an elite team of mercenaries that take whatever job suits their financial needs and general moral compass. But lately it seems, some of the members are feeling like they left their passion and beliefs behind after the Vietnam war. It’s just been all about the mission lately.
Enter brief uncredited appearance by Bruce Willis (and the Governator). He wants to hire someone to take out a pesky dictator in South America. Barney takes the gig, despite the danger involved (well, duh, wouldn’t be much of an action film without danger), and let’s the boys know. Those ‘boys’ are Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Gary Daniels, and the awesome Dolph Lundgren, among others. Mickey Roarke plays a buddy that owns a motorcycle/tattoo shop that the guys use as sort of a home base. Quite a crew of tough guys, eh? It’s mostly about Stallone, Li, and Statham, though. Of course, while checking out the sitch over there, they find an ex-U.S. government guy (Eric Roberts) pulling the puppet strings. Oh, and a girl. There’s always a girl. Barney gets taken in by the girl’s (Giselle Itie’) passion for her beliefs. Yeah, that’s right, a woman shows Barney you can still believe in something. The classic rekindled faith plot. Playing it by the fucking book, man. Hey, if it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? Whatever; we’re just here for the fucking pyrotechnics.
And, baby, you get them. Sure, this is all pretty much meat and potatoes action, but if you’re looking for some bad-ass whoopin’s, you came to the right place. Ok, true, many of the actors here don’t get lots of screen time (oh, hi, Stone Cold Steve Austin), or much to say. But they get to do their fighting thing, fer sure. Lots of guys get shot, blown up, and lose a limb or two, and even their head. Hell, one guy gets blown in half and flies across a room. And just about everything gets blow’d up; people, vehicles, buildings, and even a dock. Sweet, sweet mayhem. Stallone knows what sells a movie even if he wants to try to put a message in it. And it works. It’s pure action fun. No, of course it won’t win any awards, but we didn’t come for that pussy, namby-pamby bullshit. This ain’t no Howard’s End ! We came for killings and ‘splosions, and that’s what we get.
This thing is chock full of cheesey fun and that’s exactly what I wanted. Hell, that’s what the trailer advertised. I want what they were selling. What I didn’t expect was to come out of this movie wanting to see Dolph Lundgren make more movies. Who comes out looking best? Damn straight, it’s Lundgren. He gets some of the best moments and lines. He’s so perfectly suited to dispensing gravelly-voiced one liners it’s kind of frightening. Somebody should be putting him back in the action limelight. Leave it to Stallone. So awesome. I know, right? What the Hell am I saying? Some truths are stranger than fiction, man.
Like I said, no awards here, but for pure simple-minded action entertainment, you’ve found it. And maybe, just maybe, a new found career life for Dolph Lundgren. If any of this sounds like fun to you, go give it a shot. Ok, just stop looking at me like I’m crazy.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, telling you that the word “insect” has never had more entertainment weight.